The Powell Pack’s Cure for Couch Potato Syndrome!


Too much media time is an epidemic that seems to be affecting kids and adults all over the world… and sadly, the Powell Pack isn’t immune to the problem either! A love of Xbox and Angry Birds has snuck into our home and taken over WAY too much of our sweet kids’ time. After far too many minutes spent with glazed over eyes and sore thumbs from bird launching, Chris and I developed the perfect way to combat couch potato syndrome: Time spent in front of video games is to be earned with some good ol’ fashioned exercise! A quick circuit, designed by Chris, earns 15 mins of iPad or Xbox time, with a limit of earning a total of 60 minutes a day. The workouts aren’t rigorous, but they’re just enough to keep our littles moving and stave off excessive techno time.

Cash LOVES Angry Birds (like father, like son!), so to earn his time on the iPad, he does:

  • 7 running laps around the pool
  • 10 push ups
  • 10 squats

Matix can’t get enough sports games on the Xbox, so for him to earn 15 mins of video games, he does:

  • 25 pushups
  • 25 jumping pull ups
  • 25 squats
  • 400 m run

I love the idea of not only teaching them to keep electronics to a minimum, but the importance of making exercise a part of their every day lives too. The best part is they’ve learned to love the exercise as much as the time on their electronics, makin’ me one happy mama. πŸ˜‰

With iPods, iPads, computers, phones, and video game systems becoming such an integral part of everyday life, it’s hard to keep our kids from spending too much time on their devices and get them up and moving, but it is so important in the fight against childhood obesity and setting our children up for a successful, healthy future. What are some ways your family limits media time and encourages outdoor play? Any tried and true methods? Share your ideas in the comments below?I would love to hear what works for you!




43 Responses

  1. Love It !!! What a great way to motivate kids into earning privileges while reaping the healthy rewards of exercise. I think you’re doing your kids a huge favourite by adding physical activities into their lifestyles.. With so much online social media and electronic devices these days kids tend to become too engrosed in technology to begin with.. Me personally, when I exercise, Crossfit Training, I feel more motivated and energetic through out the day. Sitting around and laziness doesn’t cut it. Your kids will thank you one day as exercise and healthy living will most likely continue to be a part of their lives. Besides, I’m sure they are loving it :):) Well done Powells

  2. I posted and shared my comments to Facebook! I like what you are doing and I have done music and movement (actually taught this for years) with our own children. As they grew to be teens,, we turned the family TV room on the lower level into a large fitness room and they were unable to watch TV unless they put in at least 30 minutes of cardio and strengthening. It often grew to be an hour for t hem and for myself! So, we’ve always encouraged fitness and I am 70 now and have a recumbent cycle and rebounder with stablizing bar for daily use. I also use some hand weights for my floor routine. Kudos to the Powells for bringing a healthy lifestyle to them selves and their children, as well!! Nemaste

  3. Awesome! I totally love your ideas. I’m going to work this into our routine for us. We are an active healthy family and I love to learn new methods to use in our fitness journey.
    I love to do mini workouts while we are watching TV. Just a few wall sits, lunges or dips to keep us moving.
    Thanks for your continued motivation and inspirational content. Keep it up!

  4. We just tell our child (age 6) that it’s time to turn off the electronics…he may moan and groan a bit but once we suggest a bike ride etc he quickly is ready to go! He never turns us down to get moving especially if we are moving with him!

  5. my kids see me monitoring my steps all the time. They came up with a goal of 10,000 steps a day which is tracked on their own jawbone’s and I can see because we are on a team. They keep me accountable and I keep them accountable. If they want to substitute a bike ride then they are more then welcome. During Soccer season this is easy. Winter they struggled.

  6. Hi Heidi! I don’t have kids but I was wondering…
    Do you think that if the child doesn’t like to exercise, and you make him or her for screen time, that they will grow up resenting exercise and working out and then not workout in the future because mom and dad made him or her??

    1. Chris and Heidi make working out fun for their kids, and it’s up to the kids to choose to do their workouts to earn screen time. And remember, they have great examples of parents who like to workout! πŸ˜‰

    2. If they are young then no as exercise comes in so many shapes and forms. I have taken mine swimming since they were a few weeks old, he they had yrs of structured swimming lessons but I also take them and they play. Now at 8 my twins have chosen to go to swimming club where they get formal intense coaching but on a Sunday when my son is in a rugby match I take to the girls to h gym pool where they have a play about / swim then go on the inflatable session which they love . Majority of little boys love to play with a ball , most lads are football mad and obsessed with it and kids everywhere play football, football centres everywhere and especially where we live with 2 premiership teams close by all the boys are either into Liverpool or Everton. Equally rugby is a big British sport and take them from when 4 and they love it, plus it’s so social , this weekend by 8 yr old and husband are on the kids rugby tour so a weekend away playing rugby. Both of my girls have dances but my 10 yr old has continued they started at 2 1/2 yrs it was just fun then doing moves to disney songs or nursery rhymes. In that time she decided to quit ballet but still does modern, tap and disco, that decision was so she could do netball too. There are so many sports and incentives for kids to exercise I don’t get why so many are obese and addicted to the tv. There is so much formal stuff but also the informal stuff you can do as a family, walking, bike rides etc if you make it the norm then it becomes the norm. Most gyms have kids ?lasses and family sessions.the kids love it that at the weekend I do a spin class whilst they do a multi sport one then we go to the family fun pool session with inflatables, they think it’s great. My girls love going to the roller disco 2 hrs of skating is exercise but they just see it as fun . This summer as he is 8 my son can join the cricket club which he is keen to do, for girls there is tennis at same time and mums and dads cheap bar and social night , win win for us all πŸ™‚

    1. The Powell kids don’t use fitness videos, their workouts are made up of different activities. πŸ™‚

  7. We do a very similar thing except we have them do it first thing in the morning…something similar to your 9 minute missions. We change the work out up monthly (my girls are 12, 10, 8). We don’t watch TV during the week…but on the rare instance they have time or want to they have to run around the block (exactly 1/2 mile) for each 30 minutes they watch. They love it and don’t complain…they just know it’s what they have to do if they want the iPad. Keep up the great work!!

  8. It’s so great to hear different ideas and perspectives when it comes to electronics! Our family struggles with this every day. Love your ideas I will have to try incorporating fitness into our point charts add a way to earn extra for the kids “fun” time.

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